Conservatives: Boston Means We Shouldn't Do Immigration Reform

As soon as it was revealed that the Boston Marathon bombing suspects were immigrants from Chechnya—who had migrated as children, following conflict in the region—a predictable crew of conservatives pounced on that fact to disparage comprehensive immigration reform. Here’s Ann Coulter:

It’s too bad Suspect # 1 won’t be able to be legalized by Marco Rubio, now.

And also, conservative radio host Bryan Fischer:

I think we can safely say that Rubio’s amnesty plan is DOA. And should be. Time to tighten, not loosen, immigration policy.

On the other end of things, Iowa senator—and ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee—Chuck Grassley issued a statement pointing to the situation as example of how the United States needs to improve its immigration laws:

In his opening statement, Grassley also argued the Boston terror case can help strengthen immigration reform since “it will help shed light on the weaknesses in our system … [and] how can we beef up security checks on people who would enter the United States.”

The two suspects in the Marathon bombing, Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, are brothers from the Caucasus region who emigrated to the United States with their family and became legal residents in 2007.

I’m more sympathetic to Grassley’s political objective than Fischer’s or Coulter’s, but the simple fact is that the situation in Boston has little to do with the “immigration system.” Both suspects were legal immigrants who came over as children—tougher background checks or more security wouldn’t have prevented the tragedy on Monday, or last evening’s shootout.

Indeed, short of constant surveillance and identity checks—in other words, a police state—it’s hard to think of anything that could have prevented it. There are costs and benefits to living in a free society, and one of the costs is the potential for mass violence, perpetrated by those who would exploit our openness. Yes, we should try as hard as we can to prevent said violence—terrorism or otherwise—but at a certain point, it’s not possible without curtailing the values we’re trying to protect.

Comments

"Those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it."

Israelis have been living with fences and tight border security for decades. It isn't cheap to maintain.

Unfortunately the U.S., has been the only world police force, and as a result we are now the targets.

We cannot let the fact that the 911 hijackers, the Times Square bomber, and now the Boston bombers, all came in on a visa, escape our consideration. And it seems likely that with a little more oversight, we could well have caught the 911 hijackers, saving thousands of innocent lives.

Constant vigilance might not prevent another terrorist attack but why be hasty about things and risk making it easier for the next attack to occur, because we overlook something obvious.

It's going to take several years, before anyone sees a single Green card from this bill, taking 2 months to discuss this, in order to make sure we are not taking unnecessary risks is the way to go.

I am for enfranchising the undocumented, I deplore the idea of people living in the shadows of our society, that has to end. But we cannot trade hastiness for a horrible terrorist incident, one that could cost thousands of innocent lives.

Two months of intelligent debate are called for in matters of National Security.

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